Wildcats rally to beat Pepperell; Colonels and Canes collect wins
September 8, 2023 Charles Wilson / Bartow Sports Zone
The Woodland Wildcats overcame a 13-point halftime deficit Friday night and scored 28 points in the second half to rally past the visiting Pepperell Dragons, 35-28.
The win evened the Wildcats’ season record and came on an evening when Woodland enjoyed the return to their home stadium after three games away. Vandalism of the sports turf in the Wildcats’ stadium forced Woodland to play the first "home game" of the year on the Adairsville High campus back in August.
Pepperell scored twice in the first quarter Friday night to take a 12-0 lead.
Erik Jensen connected with Sam Ross for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 7:37 to go in the opening period. Ross then added a 2-yard touchdown run with 0:55 remaining in the quarter. A PAT kick failed on the first score and a two-point conversion attempt failed following the Dragons' second touchdown.
Both teams added touchdowns in the second quarter.
Woodland got a 4-yard rushing touchdown from Jay Walker and a Nick Miranda PAT kick to narrow the Pepperell lead to 12-7 with 7:04 left in the half.
Tyler Rogers scored on an 8-yard run for Pepperell with 1:22 left in the period. The Dragons added a two-point conversion pass completion giving the Dragons a 20-7 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, the Wildcats' offense picked up the pace and the defense came up with key stops.
Woodland posted the only points of the third quarter when Heath Tatum scored on an 8-yard run. Miranda’s kick narrowed Pepperell’s lead to 20-14 with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats took their first lead of the night.
Woodland quarterback Brelace Williams connected with Zach Wiggins for a 36-yard touchdown strike to grab a 21-20 lead with 10:36 remaining in the game.
Pepperell regained the lead just over four minutes later.
Rogers scored on a 2-yard run and followed his touchdown with a two-point conversion run to put the Dragons up 28-21 with 6:12 left.
Woodland knotted the score on their next possession.
Tatum broke free for a 42-yard scoring sprint that tied the game 28-28 with 5:02 remaining.
The game-winning drive culminated with only 0:32 left to play. Devin Teasley punched in a 2-yard run to secure the Wildcats’ 35-28 win.
The loss drops Pepperell to 0-3 on the season.
Woodland (2-2) has an open date next Friday and will host Osborne on September 22.
CASS 40, ADAIRSVILLE 21
Cass quarterback Brodie McWhorter tossed three touchdown passes to Sacovie White Friday night as the Colonels defeated visiting Adairsville, 40-21.
Cass built an early 23-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter on two of the McWhorter to White passes, a safety, and a 9-yard reverse play and pass from White to Colton Cotton. The two McWhorter passes were from 38- and 13-yards. Cass kicker Austin McArthur converted two of his five PAT kicks on the night.
Adairsville responded with a pair of second quarter touchdowns to narrow the Cass lead to 23-14.
Tigers’ quarterback Jonathan Gough hit Peyton Bowen for a 16-yard touchdown with 9:14 left in the half and — on the next possession — connected with Bowen again for a 1-yard score. Cooper Souders made both PAT kicks.
The Colonels then added to their lead just before the intermission.
McArthur booted a 25-yard field goal with 0:13 remaining in the half giving Cass a 26-14 lead at the break.
On the opening possession of the second half, Adairsville cut the Cass lead to 26-21. Gough capped the Tigers’ drive with an 18-yard run with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
White returned the ensuing kickoff deep into Adairsville territory to set up the Colonels’ next score. McWhorter and White connected for their third TD of the night. This time a 27-yard touchdown building Cass a 33-21 lead.
Later in the third and following an Adairsville turnover, Devin Henderson scored on a 17-yard run that put the Colonels ahead 40-21.
The Tigers drove inside the Cass 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter but were stopped on a 4th-and-goal. The Colonels were then able to run out the clock with three first downs.
The loss dropped Adairsville to 1-2 on the season. The Tigers begin play in Region 6-AAA next Friday night at home against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.
Cass (2-2) has a bye week next Friday and will host M.L. King on September 22 in the Colonels’ final non-region game.
CARTERSVILLE 31, COLUMBIA 6
The 4th-ranked Purple Hurricanes stayed unbeaten Friday night with a 31-6 home win over the Columbia Eagles.
Cartersville led 24-6 at halftime and the Canes’ defense did not allow a score. The Eagles’ touchdown came early in the second quarter on a 77-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
The Canes led 10-0 after one quarter on a Ryan Johnson 28-yard field goal and a 14-yard touchdown run by Luke McBride.
After the Eagles got on the scoreboard, Cartersville answered with two second quarter scores. a 1-yard touchdown run by Khristian Lando punched in a 1-yard run with 5:13 left in the first half and quarterback Nate Russell found Ja’Mauri Brice for a 37-yard scoring strike with 0:47 remaining in the half.
The only scoring in the second half was a 50-yard interception returned for a touchdown by the Canes’ Reed Ezell.
Columbia (2-2) has a bye week before traveling to McNair on September 22.
Cartersville (4-0) will host Heritage-Conyers at Weinman Stadium next Friday (Sept. 15) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.